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Recipe: arugula salad with figs and prosciutto

Do you remember the Go-Go’s song Vacation? It’s so 80s, I know. Hey – I wore the hot pink and turquoise. I watched Duran Duran on MTV. If I have any regrets in my life, it’s being a teen in the 80s. Whenever I’m about to leave on vacay, Belinda Carlisle’s voice enters my head and she is singing that damn song…

Yes, we’re shoving off. Cindy had asked me recently if I ever feel like I’m living someone else’s vacation. I laughed. She always makes me laugh. Believe me, I realize that we live in a fantastic place. I realize this because we spent over a decade’s worth of vacations in places just like our current surrounds! That’s why we chose to settle down here. But that doesn’t keep us from heading out to explore other awesome places.

I’ll still blog from the road when I can and perhaps you will see some familiar faces here… That’s all I’m saying for now.

My question for you: What is your ideal vacation? Is it spent with family, friends, strangers, no one? Is it a particular place? Is it travel, exploration, relaxation, eating, learning? On the water, at the beach, in the mountains, in the desert, in a posh hotel, riding a train, flying, exploring cities, art museums, listening to or watching performances?

I ask because I’m curious. I ask because a lot of people don’t care much for my brand of vacation which usually involves exertion, sweat, and dirt or snow. My friend, Fiona, calls that Fun #2. I am all about Fun #2. My ideal vacation: exploring alpine backcountry with Jeremy in preferably arid climates (wet climates are fine as long as the temp is below freezing).

I’m not asking this for the purposes of evil market research or other crap like that. Right now, the only sponsor of this blog is me. So if you answer my question in the comments section before midnight, August 14 (that’s my mom’s birthday), Mountain Time, you will automatically be entered into a drawing. Jeremy will randomly generate 3 numbers between 1 and the # of comments using trusted Python code, then we will let Kaweah select which of the three will win a matted photo from my gallery.

she’s going to work hard on this

The winner will be the comment # that corresponds to the number selected by the ‘weah. If you have problems with the outcome, you can take it up with teh dawg. Said winner will get to choose an 8×12 photo matted to 12×16 from the following:

the rockburn track, new zealand

the maroon bells, aspen, colorado

aspens, rocky mountain national park, colorado

dahlias at butchart gardens, victoria, canada

I’ll do my best to announce the winner on August 18th, barring any unforeseen disasters. I’ll ship this puppy (the photo, not the actual dog) worldwide. You’ve got a week – so tell me what your idea of the perfect vacay is!

I have been desperately trying to clean out the refrigerator because I hate to leave the house in a state of filth and rotting food. I also hate to waste food, so I handed off several lovely fruits to my friends in town yesterday when we met for lunch. Oy. Better that than exploding into a giant messy fruit salad in the middle of the living room… But I did manage to finish off the fresh figs in a scrumptious salad. I’m all over the salads these days.

pour olive oil over the greens

Arugula didn’t make it onto my radar screen until 5 or so years ago, but I love the stuff. I like the peppery, slightly bitter green prepared in the simplest way: tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I guess that’s the theme for summer here – olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can go quite far on that combination.


Fresh figs are nothing like dried figs. I am not such a fan of dried figs and I detested fig newtons as a kid. When the teacher would hand those out in class my reaction was, “This is not a treat!” That was a bad scene. Anyway, fresh figs are heavenly and they are available in the markets now. [I will also be visiting a tree that bears the fruit on our trip. I know I will get to gorge on them because the people living with that tree hate figs. Blasphemy, I know!!] Add some halved fresh figs to the greens.

luscious figs

And I cannot help but toss in a few strips of prosciutto. The whole ensemble is a journey through sweet, salty, bitter, spicy. It’s also incredibly easy to slap together without going near the bad bad heat.

some lovely prosciutto rounds out the salad

serve and enjoy

Arugula Salad with Figs and Prosciutto
[print recipe]

5 oz. arugula
12 figs, fresh (rinsed)
8 slices prosciutto
3 tbsps olive oil

Place arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper over the greens and toss to evenly coat the leaves. Slice the figs in half. Slice the prosciutto into strips. Divide the greens into four bowls. Divvy up the figs and prosciutto on the salads and serve.

144 nibbles at “vacay”

  1. jennywenny says:

    Looking at all your photos, I think I’d like a vacation where you live! I’m hankering for the mountains and the cool clean air. Its muggy and warm in San Diego, and its wonderful to live in a tourist destination but I’m looking forward to some cool breezes and hiking in the mountains! Maybe yosemite….

  2. Amy says:

    My favorite vacay would be in the little mountain town in Italy my husband is from called Monte Di Procida. It is right on the water & so beautiful with it’s jagged cliffs & amazing veiws! Enjoy your vacation!!

  3. Michelle says:

    Vacation to me means there has to be water. I prefer sparkly blue see-your-feet-through-the-water kind of water!

    and oh dear do I covet that New Zealand photo. For real. Can I buy it if I don’t win it?

  4. Bridget says:

    A couple months ago, I spent a week on the beach with my husband and my family. I don’t see my family very often because they live on the other side of the country. It was pretty much perfect. We stayed in a house right on the beach, the weather was in the high 80’s every day (I know that sounds terrible to you, but I love the heat, especially when there’s an ocean to cool off on), the beach wasn’t crowded at all. My awesome 2-year-old nephew woke us up at dawn every morning, so I started each day with taking pictures of the sun rising over the ocean. Then my husband and I would grab a bagel, stop off at the little coffee and wine bar across the street for cappuccinos, and go explore some part of the area. Then there would be swimming and eating and drinking and lots of watching the waves roll in. My favorite part of the day was right before dinner, when we’re worn out from swimming etc., and we just sat in lawn chairs on the beach, drinking beer and watching the tide come in. After dinner, we went back out on the beach to look for crabs.

    My husband and I agree that the only problem with the vacation was, of course, it was too short. We would have liked another week, maybe with just the two of us and not the whole family.

  5. Bri says:

    I don’t have one perfect vacation. I can think of about a dozen places to go and things I’d love to do. So I guess I’d have to say Fun #2 vacations are my favorite. Seeing the plains of Africa, checking out Australia or New Zealand, or going home to Alaska to the glaciers and Mt McKinley (ok, Denali) are the kinds of things I dream about. Other than that, being free enough to simply take a walk or bike ride through town and not worry about the things I’m not doing would be a great little vacation for me.


  6. Marguerite says:

    Funny you should ask, we are leaving on saturday for my idea of a perfect vacation: 3 weeks in my parents holiday house in the south of France. There will be sleep, provided for by eager grandparents, food, books, sun, garden and that’s really all I am hoping for now! I also like vacationing in cities, but with three little boys, this is more stress than necessary. Enjoy your holidays I am curious to see where you are going!

  7. Fiona says:

    A week in Paris with an elevator (for my mother), plenty of time to walk around, and someone else’s metabolism (so I can eat pate at every single meal and not worry about it for a moment).

    We spent two weeks touring NZ a few years ago, though, and that was pretty fabulous. Caving, hiking, horse-back riding, mountain-climbing, city walking, and a final few days on a farm. Love that place.

  8. laura says:

    We are Colorado mountain-dwellers as well. Our favorite vacations are anywhere WEST. Mountains, snow, aspens in any season, good food, solitude. Exploration, lots of road tripping, some history, too, if my husband has anything to say about it. Preferably in that quiet, May/Sept-Oct time frame when the weather is crisp but mostly calm and there are fewer elbows to bump. The Maroon Bells is on our list for this fall (fingers crossed). Your photo is stunning and makes me all the more excited for that trip. Hope you enjoy your time away.

  9. Marcia says:

    With my love, at an isolated lakefront cabin with a stone fireplace, screened porch, beautiful trees, interesting trails, a kayak, the serenade of loons, whispering pines, some good books and a fishing pole!

    Have a wonderful vaca….I visit CO often….my sister is in Boulder. We are on the elbow of Cape Cod surrounded by the ocean.
    Love your blog!!

  10. Vicki says:

    Driving through the Italian countryside on a Vespa, touring wineries, convincing grandmothers to teach me their kitchen secrets, meeting pigs that will become delicious prosciutto and guanciale. I’d jump on a plane right now if I could.

  11. Lori says:

    My favorite vacation is with my dear husband to a place that’s very different from home, a place that takes me outside my comfort zone in some important way. Vietnam, that was a good one for a girl from Texas. India, cool. Peru, kind of familiar but still. Morocco coming up this fall, and Senegal in the spring. I always reach a point a few days in when I totally freak out and the difference becomes too overwhelming. When I just want someone to talk to me in English dammit! I just want familiar and recognizable food! That lasts about an hour, and then I’m back in the groove.

  12. Lulu says:

    With my sweetie.
    On or near the ocean.
    Relaxing-focused, but there should be short bursts of exertion involved so I can work up an appetite. :)
    Yummy food is a must.

    Have fun on yours!

  13. Whitney says:

    My dream vacation would be to go explore Thailand and Vietnam. A more practical (but still wonderful) vacation is going to a new city to explore for a few days, then getting out to the country for a few days. Earlier in May I got to go to NYC and CT and it was wonderful. I live in Chicago so I enjoy being in cities. I also used to go to CO in HS to go skiing over spring break and lots of camping when I was little…lets just say that I am very indecisive. I just love exploring the world be it an hour a way or half a world away.

    Enjoy your vacation and all of your pictures are breath-taking.

  14. Lezel Safi says:

    We do 3 different types of vacays;1. an annual pilgrmage to the Alabama to the beach with all 3 children (living the dream baby, 15 hours in a car with a 7, 4, 2 year olds!), 2. an annual pilgrimage to the mountains to ski with said children (love ol’ Crusty Butt or Wolf Creek! could be difficult this year with the husband having broke his tibia, fibula and ankle 9 weeks ago!), 3. somewhere with just the 2 of us, we did Paris last year for our 10 year wedding anniversary, but can’t seem to talk anyone into watching our children again for a trip to Greece, dammit!

    Have a great trip, we headed tomorrow too for the beach!

  15. Wendy says:

    My ideal vacation was always travelling. Seeing and being in some place other than home. And I still love that. This summer, though, I stayed at home and I got a dog. I’ve spent the last seven weeksgetting to know the little guy and walking in my own country (Scotland) with him. Have to say, it’s been the best summer ever!
    Enjoy your trip. :)

  16. Debbie Green says:

    My favorite vacations are with my husband and youngest son on the beach. Any beach… long as I am near water. I love being near the ocean more than anything. I grew up on Long Island and the beach was only a 20 minute car ride away! When I left Long Island years ago, I ended up in Virginia. Virginia is nice but not close enough to the ocean. I ALWAYS miss the ocean…Speaking of figs – when I was growing up my grandfather had 6 fig trees in his vegetable garden. These trees survived the NY winters by being wrapped up every fall in tar paper! There is nothing like a just picked fresh fig. My favorite fruit.

  17. Cess says:

    Hmmm perfect vacay will be my honeymoon because it means I will have married the love of my life and I hope it will be on the beach with a book and some fruity drink!!! Awesome sunsets are most welcome too!!!

  18. Susy says:

    My perfect vacation would be to fly to Oregon (with my tent), rent a car, and see where I end up and what I can see and hike in 2 weeks. I’ve always wanted to go to Oregon. I’ve been to Washington twice and pretty much anything that’s hikeable in the midwest. I love coming home from vacation physically exhausted but mentally exhilarated!

  19. Roxane G says:

    My ideal vacation involves my husband, water of some kind nearby and lots of exploration. We like places we can explore and find tucked away places to eat that are off the beaten path. Chicago, Charleston, Seattle, Beunos Aires, Madrid, anywhere in Italy…There are too many to choose from and a Euro that’s none to friendly to my dollar right now!

    Have a great vacation!

  20. Jen C says:

    I’m a bit of everything I guess. Every vacation we’ve gone on has had some days of all out exertion (last time was hiking Vernal Falls in Yosemite). But that same trip included Napa, San Fran and Disneyland (yeah I know what you’re saying to that!) Our next trip is a cruise (I really know what you’re saying to that) with our families. I doubt we’ll scuba this time. So I guess ideally for me is a mix of Mother Nature’s awesomeness mixed in with some adult libations. And a day or two of pampering/ splurging.
    I think that’s why we like Northern California so much.

  21. Pam says:

    My ideal–a week in an oceanfront cottage at a not-too-commercialized East Coast beach in the temperate off-season (late April-ish) with a box of books, my Ipod, some good wine, my running shoes, and friends. I longed for this for years and finally made it happen the last two years.

    Enjoy your vacation! Love your blog!

  22. Cindy says:

    I’m into relaxation when on vacation — no sweat or dirt involved please! My husband and I like to travel somewhere — with an ocean preferrably involved — and stay in a nice hotel. We like to take in the local sites as well — museums, art galleries, historical sites, etc. Throw in some good meals and I’m in heaven.

  23. Michelle says:

    My ideal vacation involves 7-10 days, my hubby, a Jeep, my camera, and some good walking shoes in Sedona, AZ. Daytime is for exploring and hiking… nightime is for good food and a hot tub under the stars. :)

  24. Karin says:

    My perfect vacation would be in China. Eating awesome food, shopping, sightseeing historic places, sitting in muggy taxis, walking around in freezing AC, breathing in the worst smog in the world and enjoying the noise of too many people in too small a space. China is like a drug to me- I went to HK a while back and complained the whole time (and when I came back to Vancouver I wanted to head right back). Last year, I went to Beijing and Shanghai, got sick and complained the whole time (deja vu, anyone?) and now… I really really want to go back. I don’t ever learn my lesson, lol.

  25. Leslie says:

    Hmmm? Favorite vacation? I haven’t had one in so long I have to think about this for a sec. I guess my idea of a perfect vacation would go something like this – family only (me, hubby and the boys) and enough time for us to do a little bit of everything – fishing and camping (for all of us) exploring a new town and shopping and maybe a spa treatment or two (for me) enjoying great scenery and awesome food (for all of us) and the chance to create some unforgetable memories.

  26. Chris says:

    My ideal vacation involves the mountains and water in equal parts. This past year some friends and I headed over to Kauai and hiked part of the Na’pali Coast. Then we lounged in those beautiful Hawaii waters.

  27. Connie K says:

    my ideal vacation is somewhere with a beach, but also a mountrail nearby so i can switch it up. preferably spent with 2-3 friends, because any more and it can too hectic!!

    sidenote, i LOVE the butchart gardens!! such a beautiful place to photograph, and the loveliest flowers :D

  28. Wandering Chopsticks says:

    I like arugula salads with balsamic vinegar. No dried figs for me either. Fresh only please!

    Sigh. Your photos are so pretty. Makes me miss Oregon.

    But for vacation, I’m more into culture, places to walk around, castles, museums. Not much for beach vacations. And outdoors and camping is what I did every weekend growing up as a kid, so not terribly exotic for me.

  29. Judy (Judy's Gross Eats) says:

    I have two favorite vacations. I really love driving around other countries (even this one), taking back roads, eating in local restaurants, staying in B&Bs or inns, and soaking up the local culture. But, if I want to be pampered, just put me on a cruise ship where I can relax, enjoy gourmet food 24/7, and have someone else take care of all the details.

  30. Amy says:

    Right now, a morning to sleep in, uninterrupted by a hungry baby would be my ideal vacation. I love my kids, but they drain me. No matter where I go on “vacation” my work comes with me, cute little buggers.

    I love Paris too. And wandering around places I’ve never been discovering new things. I’m a flaneur at heart.

  31. Tawnia says:

    There are a thousand places I would like to go and the only requirement would be quiet. No commercial crowded places that get above 70. Sheesh……I sound kind of high maintenance…

  32. Emmy says:

    Oh, man, the aspen pic is, like, clawing its way into my chest and squeezing my heart. In a good way.

    My ideal vacation would be me, my mom and my sister. Because my mom is totally a member of the princess club, this would probably involve a good deal of cushy hotel rooms and yummy restaurants. Ideally we’d do a road trip of some sort somewhere on the coast between nor cal and washington, maybe even B.C. We did something similar to that when they helped me move from San Francisco to Portland in college, but the stress of the trip and starting a new school was a bit much. So someday I’d like to do it again; I love the idea of spending the day hiking and wandering around those gorgeous towns, then having a comfy bed to crash in at night.

  33. Sara says:

    Ever since I moved across the country, my favorite vacation spot is now visiting my parents in rural Ohio–nothing too exciting, but it’s great to be back somewhere where I feel “home.” I also REALLY miss the plants back in Ohio–of course it is completely beautiful here in the Bay Area (most people would probably say more so!) but to me they just don’t feel anywhere near as beautiful as Ohio forests…call me crazy but I would take Silver Creek Metro Parks over Yosemite any day. ;)

  34. Jessica says:

    Park me on the beach under a palm tree with a drink in my hand, or put me in a swingy skirt and sandals and let me roam the street markets in Italy… I just want the sun on my face and my toes free.

  35. Mrs Ergul says:

    My ideal vacation is to relax somewhere nice and relaxing, and spend days by the beach, swimming, reading a book, playing beach games, taking photos, doing nothing with my hubby! Singapore is a really stressful and fast-paced society. That’s is why I like to go somewhere with a slower pace for a vacay! love the sea breeze and I love to hear the sound of waves!

  36. Salena says:

    I love traveling to new places, but I think my best vacations have been visiting friends and family that have moved. Experiencing a new place is so much more fun to me when I know someone who lives there.

  37. jillian says:

    My ideal vacation is going someplace I have never been before with my husband. We loved exploring new cities, mountains and beaches but we rarely go the same place twice. We usually prefer something fast paced…however, we just spent a week in Mexico sitting on the beach reading.

  38. Emily says:

    Going with really ideal (i.e., unrealistic) here – a summer spent in Italy and the Mediterranean. I would love to explore the Italian countryside and all the amazingly historic cities. I’d spend some time on the Greek isles and by the sea. Just relax and sip wine somewhere, surrounded by a rich culture and people who don’t speak my language, absorbing as much as I can. I know I can do that just about anywhere – and would – but I’d say that would be the perfect vacation.

  39. Christy says:

    Your idea of the perfect vacation is somewhat similar to my boyfriend’s..he’s all about exertion, pushing limits and some form of climbing/sweating. Wouldn’t involve lots of snow if he could help it though—funny how he detests the cold, considering that he grew up in Steamboat Springs Colorado…I joked that we most likely would have to go for separate vacations if we do stay together.

    As for me, I don’t know where I want to go, really. It would be a struggle between the warm beaches of Bali (where I’ll be gladly heading to in a few weeks’ time), the golden city of Prague and a little country cottage somewhere in the South of France.

  40. Manggy says:

    Oh, Jen– still a rabble-rouser as a kid. :P When I was a kid, I had one bite of those fig newtons and I thought, “Yeah, I’m not going to eat one of those ever again.” Soooo… Still don’t know what a real fig really tastes like. I’m gonna say, peaches. Just a guess. It must be great to have prosciutto and not worry about its near-rawness any longer! (Yeah, I know you’ve been having a buttload of sushi, but still! Pretend I’m Italian and not Asian.)

    Can I possibly leave multiple comments? Pretty please… Ha ha ha. Okay, I’ll be fair. By the way, what is Fun#1?
    What is your ideal vacation? I’m WAAAY too young to be specific with this ;)
    Is it spent with family, friends, strangers, no one? By myself, though I wouldn’t mind spending it with ONE friend who doesn’t mind going to the places I do, walking till his/her feet bleed, and wants to go to places I don’t mind. It can even be a stranger, but mind you a lot of strangers are corny.
    Is it a particular place? A non-tropical destination would be ideal, but I can enjoy myself even in a place that looks exactly like home. Me loves Europe (even if it don’t love me back).
    Is it travel, exploration, relaxation, eating, learning? On the water, at the beach, in the mountains, in the desert, in a posh hotel, riding a train, flying, exploring cities, art museums, listening to or watching performances? All of the above. Kidding. I notice you left out the shopping. You are REALLY not a shopper. Ha ha ha. I can live most anywhere, but I’d rather not be in a place where the police regularly kick down the doors in search for prostitutes. Hate rats, too. I’m not very attuned to deserts, hot or cold, they frighten me. When you’ve hidden it well like in Vegas, that’s the exception ;) My preference would definitely be the urban/cosmopolitan areas. Get a little shopping and eating in, visit museums, watch a performance, explore the alleys, quaint shops. I wouldn’t be very great with rafting and diving because I can’t swim, but I can appreciate the beach. I also love the occasional hike, just keeping my skill limitations in mind.

  41. Tanya says:

    My dream vacation would be Paris for a couple of months in a rented apartment so I could wander the markets and come home and cook. A few forays into the South of France for some small towns and beaches would also be lovely. Closer to home and more realistically — a long weekend in Pt. Reyes Station, Tomales Bay or Sea Ranch (CA) with a good book or two.

    I’ve been a lurker for a while. I love your blog, your recipes and your photos. I hope you have a fabulous vacation.

  42. 3rin says:

    Our ideal vacation is finding my boyfriend’s biological parents, exploring the korean cuisine and history in Seoul, Korea. If you are going overseas then why not do all three.

  43. Laura says:

    My ideal vacation is a replica of my honeymoon (lucky me :) ). We went to Thailand for 3 weeks where we did FOOD FOOD FOOD for all 3 weeks plus culture in the city, hiking/exploring in the “not city’ (the jungle and some mountains, but it would not have to be the same) and at least 5 days on the beach. I like down time (i.e., the beach) but I also like “doing” stuff (seeing the sights, exploring historical sites especially and beautiful natural sites). And the destination MUST have good food. My ideal traveling companion is either my husband or a close friend. I don’t do the alone thing that well but I am also not big on groups. And I guess I think of vacations as being warm weather spots. Now that I have been to Thailand, as much as I want to go back, I would want to see somewhere else first. At the top of my list are the Greek Islands, the Serengeti (sp?) in Africa, Cambodia, India, Brazil…

  44. ailo says:

    In general I am most excited about vacations when they are new – a new sport (sea kayaking, rafting, climbing) or a new place (climate, city, country). Novelty gets me going. So it’s not so much a particular place or activity as it is an experience. I love going to NYC or Chicago, jumping on a subway or bus, getting off at a random stop and walking for an hour till I get bored or find a new subway stop, then doing it again. Likewise I love exploring a new climate or natural environment to see what’s different. I tend to not like vacations that are planned with details, but rather like finding what’s available in a new place and seeing what I feel like in the moment.

    That said, my favorite vacation has been, and I think forever will be should I get the chance again, tree climbing in Costa Rica in the primary rainforests surrounding the tiny little town of Tres Piedras. Hanging out hundreds of feet up in trees all day and sometimes all night, eating local foods, and examining all the bugs I can find is heaven to me. That trip on biannual repeat would satisfy me forever because the forests are so rich that there is always something new to find.

  45. bee says:

    j and i are going on our ideal vacation in two weeks. three days in the grand tetons in a campground. no driving around like banshees. just going on hikes, taking pics and walking a lot, breathing the clean mountain air.

  46. Tony says:

    Jen, your photos are freakin’ amazing :)
    My ideal vacation is traveling with friends or family to different parts of the world and immersing into different cultures.
    by the by, have you heard or had an Italian cheese called stracchino? I mention this because I had it for the first time inside a prosciutto, fig and arugula panino while I was visiting Italy this past winter. it’s one of my favorites now, although it’s difficult to find in the States.
    enjoy your vacation!

  47. Pam says:

    I love to explore. I love adventures and going new places. It doesn’t matter if it’s cold or hot; ocean or desert; mountains or flatlands. I like to camp in my tent and/or stay in a posh hotel. I love eating at the local hang outs and/or eating in gourmet restaurants. I am cool with it all. My favorite vacation is getting away with my husband and children and exploring this beautiful world! Have fun on your adventure…

  48. Steph says:

    I totally feel you on the “someone else’s vacation” thing! I’ve always lived close to the Southern California coast, and it is especially great right now, as I am moving from a gorgeous beach-side university to another beach-side location.

    That said, I still love to be near the water, so a Caribbean or Mediterranean vacation would be ideal. A perfect vacation would entail consuming copious amounts of really good food (of course!), surfing, swimming, and being able to see wildlife, especially marine animals. I also love natural history museums (nerdy).

    Then again, a backpacking trip through Ireland sounds amazing right now too. Oh, Ireland, you tempt me so.

  49. Rosa says:

    My ideal holidays would be spent with my boyfriend, relaxing at home or somewhere of our choice, visiting a country/town and discovering a different culture…

    Those pictures are just stunning! I’d love to see those places…

    A refreshing salad! Tasty and refined!



  50. Ann VG says:

    I really enjoy taking a road trip anywhere. It’s fun to stop at the historical markers, explore the little towns along the way, and drive a few side roads. Obviously, not much of that going on this summer with the price of gas. For now I’m content to stay at home and enjoy the family!

  51. JacqueOH says:

    Oh man, that dahlia photo is just gorgeous! Nice work!

    I love active vacations… love seing someplace new. The National Parks are on my list of places to see. Another thing that’s a real kick is “plant tours”… you know, seeing how things are made, like the Corvette assembly plant, Jack Daniels distillery, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory tour… those are a few I’ve seen so far. Hiking in the mountains is tops on my list. Seeing a new city and exploring it’s food and hot spots. History tours are cool too. The beach scene is nice once in a while.

    LOL, I guess I haven’t met too many vacations I didn’t like.

  52. Margie says:

    I’d give anything to visit Mesa Verde: view the ancient cliff dwellings, drive the scenic vistas, walk the paths of ancient ancestors. From here, I would travel onward to the Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon. (We feasted our eyeballs on the Southern Rim a year ago. It was unbelieveable in every way. Many times I have heard it said that this was a place that needed to be experienced; photographs and writings will not do it justice. This is such a truth~!)
    Continuing onward, I’d like to visit Zion National Park, trek through it for a bit, then on to St. George, Utah. I’d turn my car south at this junction and find my way across that flashy, ‘not-for-me’, Xanadu, Las Vegas. I’m half way home at this point. I’m staying for awhile; my daughter lives here. I’m so sneaky. I called this my adventure. It’s actually my ulterior motive. ;)

  53. Grey Street Girl says:

    Well, right now, I’m sort of on my perfect vacation, which usually consists of exploring every nook and cranny of wherever I land for for work. I took a couple days off while at work in Alaska and have been roaming around practicing my photography. I took a day to go down the Kenai peninsula, which was truly breathtaking. I found a creepy psycho scarecrow, some great abandoned houses, a wildlife preserve with moose and bears, several glorious Zen-like mountains, streams and waterfalls and scads of colorful flowers. That’s my ideal vacation – just finding the unusual and appreciating the beauty.

    Wherever you’ve decided to go, I’m sure you’ll shoot some great pictures and have great stories to tell! Enjoy! You’ve worked hard for it!

  54. White On Rice Couple says:

    Yeah! Free stuff, love it! I read the post and thought of an answer right away. BUT when I saw the prize….OMG….maybe I should make up something really beauteous, heartwarming and tearful just to win ! :D I want that dog! ;)
    Just kidding, I WOULD NEVER, EVA do such a thing. You kinda know me already and can probably gauge the truth to my answer.

    My answer would really depend on what point of my life when I’m vacationing. I usually always try to spend lots of time with family ( parents especially) before a trip. I feel like I should spend some quality family time with them before I head off to my journeys because if I don’t , I get this GUILTY feeling for the duration of the trip. I feel like I’ve neglected them and put my self ahead of them. It’s kinda like the Asian “good kid” syndrome that has a love/hate relationship with being responsible.

    So family comes first, that would be the first and good vacation. But the ideal? my dream? Easy:
    -Rent a car (my 350,000 mile clunker won’t work) and go on a marvelous 4-6 month road trip in North America. First, in summer, head up to Alaska (my dream) and hike, bike, climb, fish and what ever the marvelous wilderness beckons . And, the most important part, to finally see my anticipated Aurora Borealis. I’ll probably cry during the AB, then move on. Next, explore Canada, Oh Canada! Wow, more stuff to get dirty and sweat in. Next, head down back to the USA and visit all the original 13 colonies & history. Then visit as much of the USA as possible, such a beautiful place. Last, probably by early fall, try to catch a glimpse of East Coast fall colors then head down to the Southwest to really experience the fall lightening storms there.

    And oh, during this time, I’ll visit as many National Parks as possible. I collect one patch for each park and hopefully will have a whole wall of patches !

  55. cindy says:

    “vacation all i ever wanted, vacation had to get away…”

    i couldn’t resist, it got stuck in my head while i read the entire post. i’m a museum nerd, i also just like to walk around whatever place i am visiting and try to get lost in anonymity. hope you all have some good fun.

  56. Cynthia says:

    Incredible India of course! Hands down. Having traveled the globe (or most of it), I could say with all honesty “get me back to India”, or Sri Lanka. I love to eat on vacay; never have I eaten so well as there. Hampi, India is like Moab, Utah, but with padi fields, palm trees, and Vijayanagar architecture.

    I like to visit ANY historical places.

    Vacation #2 Bali, Indonesia. Awesome surfing and shopping!

  57. peabody says:

    You should go to Banff. I love it because they have lots of outdoor activities both winter and summer. They have a stuff to do if you want to veg. Plus it is pretty darn pretty.

    I don’t have an ideal vacation. However I will tell you that my ultimate goal is the go cage diving with Great White Sharks. Ever since I was a little kid. It is still my goal.

  58. joanne at frutto della passione says:

    I’ve had my dream vacation, we pretty much have a similar type of vacation every year. It involves moving around a lot. We chose a route that will take us from the mountains to the seaside (or vice versa) with some interesting medival towns in between. We hike (and eat) in the mountains, swim (and eat) at the beach and we sightsee (and eat) in the towns. Every time it is a different route so we see different towns, beaches and mountains and every year we claim that it was our favourite ever!

  59. kat says:

    Ideal vacation would be to find someone that I could travel companionably with. I’ve gone lots of places (and had really great times) by myself- but it would be so nice if I had someone to go with. As for specifics- something that combines city/country/beach- allows for sight seeing and hanging out… It’s all about choice.
    Have a great time.

  60. Kitt says:

    Happy birthday, Jen’s Mom! and happy trails, Jen! I’m off on my own jaunt as well, to one of my favorite places: The Cabin. Family, beach, food, beach, shopping, beach … It ranks pretty high on my “ideal vacation” list.

  61. Pomme says:

    Favorite vacation has to be somewhere with (very) warm weather. Boyfriend has to be there too (although he hates heat, and I hate seing him miserable, so already vacations are spoiled, bah!). Anyway, asuming he’s having a good time too, I like having friends around as well (not too many, group up to 8 people, no more!)
    No city vacations, it’s got to be away from the noise and the fumes and the crowd. I want the smell of sea or/and pine trees, the sound of crickets and/or the sea, taking it easy, everyone at their own pace, meals together, freedom to not do evrything together as a group…
    My favorite vacation memories was a trip to Greece when I was 14 (almost 15). We were a group of two families, we travelled around a bit, stayed in a friend’s house (no electricity, no running water, in the middle of nowhere… bliss! We were hanging a bottle from a tree for showering), and slept under the stars every night… swimming in turquoise water every day, never on the same beach…

  62. Jenny says:

    My vacation is anytime, anywhere with my husband and son. He works alot – so Saturdays feel like vacation and that’s all I need.

    Happy Birthday, Jen’s mom!

  63. Lan says:

    ok, i’ve thought about it. it would depend on who i’m vacationing with. with the girls (sisters, cousins, bffs etc), we like to do frivolous things. spa treatments, dining out, dressing up, dancing the night away and giggling and chowing down on something unhealthy at 3am. with them, it’s not so much the place, but the company. with my sweetie, we like new places to explore together, being active, learning and eating great food. if i ever were to vacation alone, just quiet for me thanks. to read, to eat, to watch/observe and to be anonymous.

    have a wonderful vacation, i don’t even know you and i’ll miss you! :)

  64. Cate says:

    My ideal vacation is eating my way around a foreign city – Rome, Singapore, Bangkok, London, Paris…with my husband

  65. Nicole says:

    Although I love sitting on a hot sunny beach with a good book and a cold boozy drink, my favorite vacation is camping and hiking with my boyfriend and any other suckers we can rope into going with us. :)

  66. Emily says:

    I think the most refreshing vacations are ones that involve new physical challenges. I’m not a super-athlete chick, but I really enjoy a nice week or even few days of doing something totally new.

    So, for my most recent ‘best vacation,’ I was in Jackson Hole this past March to learn skiing. Many people told me this was NOT the place to LEARN to ski, since it’s considered a really difficult area, but I totally loved it. No, of course no black runs for me, but I was on some blue traverse the very first day. Awesome, and a new challenge.

    My next vacation is a new sport, too: surfing with my boyfriend in Outer Banks. I fully expect to suck at surfing, but it’s the fun of trying and not letting myself get frustrated — just going at whatever pace my own skills allow — that I love about these vacations.

  67. Monty says:

    My ideal vacation would probably be some perfect mixture of sweaty, exhausting days of hiking, climbing, skiing, or doing something outside and then staying somewhere nice at night and eating lots of good food.

  68. Kelly says:

    My preferred vacation is camping (in a tent) at a State Park (we live in Minnesota). It brings back childhood memories, smells, and so forth, and there’s almost always a lake. Plus, if you go during the week, there are a lot fewer kids. Bonus!

    My most perfect vacation ever, however, was my honeymoon last September. We went to Grand Marais MN and rented a condo right on the lake and did absolutely nothing for a week. Pure bliss, especially after planning a wedding and moving and so forth. It was wonderful to just be able to enjoy each other and not have to care about anything (it was a bonus that we get terrible cell phone service in Grand Marais).

  69. Anita says:

    Hey, I found some spare time this morning to catch up on blogs and look! You’re having a contest! It must be my lucky day:)

    So glad you’re getting away for a vacation. It’s amazing what a change in scenery can do, even if you’re living somewhere as gorgeous as Colorado! I hope you sweat, struggle, and exert yourself to your heart’s content!:)

    I think I’m a little less adventurous than you:), but I do like some level of activity in my vacations. I could probably lie on the beach for about half a day before I went totally crazy and antsy. My favorite vacations have been ones where I’ve gone somewhere totally new – usually foreign cities, and I can spend the whole day exploring. Proximity to green areas is a plus so I could get in a hike or two. And then good eating at night to cap off the day:)

    Enjoy your vacation!!!

  70. Andrea says:

    Right now, because I am living far away from most of my friends and family, in a place that is definitly not where I want to live much longer, my ideal vacay is “home” to the rocky mountain west, Montana in particular, to visit the people I love. I never knew how much I lover it there until I left.

  71. Kelly says:

    A great vacation is one where the kids are having fun. I love their enthusiasm for new things and finding the wondermend in even the ordinary. Finding a shell on the beach or a new rock for their rock collection while hiking the trails reminds me to take pleasure in the simple things of life.

    Enjoy your trip and can’t wait to see the photos you bring back!

  72. Christina says:

    Ideal vacation? Trouncing around some foreign country with my husband (and without my kids . . . maybe with my kids when they are older), experiencing the CULTURE. That means: the architecture, art, FOOD, surroundings, habits, etc. of another culture. Really, the setting doesn’t matter. The climate doesn’t much matter. Give me a decent (read: clean) hotel and I’m good.

    Favorite vacations? Indonesia (lots of art, temples, dance, music, snorkeling, etc.); Yucatan Peninsula (Maya ruins!); Italy & France (ditto, everything). And the FOOD! Oh, the food!

  73. Cindy in Canada says:

    One of My favorite vacation spots would have to be the Mayan Riviera, Mexico. At an all-inclusive resort where I get to swim, snorkel and lay on the beach all I want to.
    However a close second would be the week long canoe trips we would take our kids on in the beautiful waters of Manitoba, Canada. We would do a lot of hiking, swimming and relaxing.

    Your site is beautiful, happened on it looking for info on how to make a rag quilt… came away with so much more!!!! Thanks for letting us into your life. I have spent the last week reading everything(I don’t do much at work!) you post. Again, thanks. All the best on your journey.

  74. Kimberly says:

    My idea of the perfect vacation would involve no sweat whatsoever. Having never been a fan of warm weather, vacations to the tropics always puzzled me. I like a nice mix of activities on vacations, enough active elements to feel motivated but enough down time to feel like a vacation. For the active element I would prefer anything-and I mean anything-on the water. (If student loans were not an issue, I would be the proud owner of a kayak). For the downtime, I have never said no to a good museum. And of course food. Loads and loads of food. Preferably all of this would be done with a few of my favorite people.

    Thanks for the fun drawing! All of the photographs are beautiful.

  75. Sandy says:

    My perfect vacation is a balancing act of seeing, doing, eating, resting, and refreshing, all in the company of my nearest and dearest. New things, new places, revisiting old favorites, making new favorites, learning new things, remembering old things – all part of the plan. My husband and children are the most critical part of the best vacation; wherever we find ourselves, there’s the adventure. (Sometimes the car ride proves pretty exciting on its own.)

    Beautiful pics, lovely blog you have here!

  76. Jennifer says:

    My ideal vacations are a little bit of everything. The main reason is for relaxation, but I love to explore off the beaten path, especially the local scenes to immerse myself in the culture of the area and get away from the overcrowded (and usually overpriced) touristy spots. I also love to try the local restaurants and their specialties. I never, ever go to a chain restaurant on my vacation.

  77. Janet says:

    My ideal vacay is equal parts sweat and R&R. Costa Rica for two weeks. First week searching for birds in the rain forest and cloud forest. Followed by a week spent sailfishing and swimming on the Pacific coast. Can’t be beat!

  78. Melissa says:

    Well there’s 2 vacations I’ll mention. One is the vacation we take the most often. My family has been going to Disneyworld once or more a year for well as long as I can remember. So yeah this vacation is special to me because it’s a family thing even if it is just a theme park. The second vacation which I would consider more of my real vacation would be exploring anything new, anywhere that has intriguing nature or history and just spending time learning and adventuring.

    I love all 3 pictures, they’re beautiful!

  79. robin says:

    My dream vacation is to go to Africa (my uncle lives there and I want to visit so much!) I’d love to spend some time on safari, then climb (or try to get as far up as I can) Mt. Kilimanjaro and then hang out at the beaches of Mumbai. Luck willing, I’ll actually make it there next summer!

  80. Kathy says:

    My favorite vacations have been bicycling in Vermont (twice), staying at a Vermont lake, North Carolina beaches and St John Virgin Island. It looks like water is a definite theme….but mostly it’s just getting away from the day to day stuff of life. Enjoy your vacation!!!

  81. Sheryl says:

    Vacation to me is being away from work. It doesn’t matter where I go, whether I’m home, on a road trip or a fly away – the important thing is being away from work! However, I am very fond of Jackson Hole and have spent many wonderful vacations there. I’m usually with Dave, but in September I’m going on a ladies trip to Italy for two weeks and I’m very much looking forward to that.

    Have a great vacation, Jen! I’m looking forward to seeing where you’re at!

  82. Holly says:

    Holy Moly! The number of comments alone should make you filled with pride. I mean, seriously, surely everyone cares about what you’re asking…and wants to answer your curiousity…but it’s all about winning a photo! :o)

    My favorite way to vaca is a cruise. Unpack once, see multiple places, eat pretty darn good as many times a day as your little heart (and tummy) desires, drink adult beverages with no driving required! What more could you want? As for Fun #2…you can have as much Fun #1 and/or Fun #2 as you require. I like to take tour excursions in some locations, others I prefer to get off the ship and take a cab to wherever the local yocal driver suggests I should see (with someone safely with me, of course!) that is off the beaten path. Other days, I just like to sit in the sun and enjoy the sea…whichever one I’m at that trip!

    Enjoy yours!

  83. Brian says:

    Wow great pictures and posts. My favorite vacation has to be a windjammer cruise going around the British Virgin Islands and in that trip finding a deserted beach on Virgin Gorda had to be the best thing. Great people, great water, weather and fun.

    After that, going out to California is the best, we go visit family out there north of LA and hit the farmers markets, do a lot of walking, a little hiking (the little ones can’t go far yet) and generally eat and drink all sorts of good things. Also get to hang out with my parents and brother too.

    Have a good vacation.

  84. Annie says:

    My idea of the perfect vacation is our traditional family vacation – a little over a week spent on Kiawah Island, SC. My dad and brothers, my uncles and cousins – everyone is there. We stay in neighboring villas and spend the week laying out and swimming in the pool, playing frisbee on the beach and whiffle ball on the golf course (shhh!) It is my favorite place in the world, both for the beautiful resort and scenery, and the wonderful family memories we create. Can’t wait to go back next year!

    Have a wonderful vacation :)

  85. Lori says:

    Those pics are beautiful. If I won, I would have a hard time choosing.

    I would choose, at this point in my life (cause things change), a trip to Spain, exploring, learning, realxing, a little of everything.

    I have a friend in Colorado (North of Denver) who is oh, so about extreme vacas. He jumps from hellicopters and ski’s down slopes, making his own trails. Other than him and you, I too, have never heard of people liking your type of vacation.

  86. Tartelette says:

    Given that I can’t get my head under water (long story but short version involves a plastic ear canal that does not tolerate diving or swimming in high seas), I have to say anywhere in the mountains…any country, the more remote the better where I can get up at sunset or before and go for hikes. Right now, my favorite vacations involves my family and especially my nieces that I see so rarely but I am tired of always visiting in the middle of winter…shooting for a mountain retreat in the French Alps in August next year :)

  87. Cheryl D says:

    Your photography makes me swoon!
    I am easy on the vacation tip, staying at our best friends beach house, taking our Doberman, who is our kid running on the beach, making amazing gourmet meals, not watching TV, no chores, being extremely lazy. Heaven!

  88. Chris says:

    My ideal vacation is seeing as many places as I can–with family or friends–and really getting to experience the culture everywhere. But I must say, I do not like to sweat on vacation; I prefer going to museums, eating in restaurants, and sightseeing!

  89. Shoshanna says:

    Nice pics of the dahlias @ Butchart Gardens! Got any pics of Vancouver?

    I am getting married in 7 days; so this question comes at a perfect time. I think that my ideal vacation would be somewhere warm and sunny (it rains a lot here in Vancouver during the winter/spring). I love immersing myself in another culture and spending some quiet time with one other person. No group vacations, no housework, no cellphone/laptops… :o)

  90. Jesse says:

    My favourite vacation is going to anyplace that’s dog-friendly with my pup! He loves the beach, so I’m planning to take him to a seaside inn next year… armed with a good book and lots of sunscreen oil of course. =) I love seeing pictures of your Kaweah. How pretty is K!

  91. zoe / puku says:

    oh, get your fig-gorging on!

    while I do love to go back to NZ and visit my (extensive) family, it means lots of driving and visiting… my favourite holidays are our holidays and long weekend trips with our group of wonderful friends – hiring a big house somewhere lovely, somewhere with mountains, bush, rivers, or the ocean (or all of the above!), and the promise of regional produce!

    Then we spend as many days as we can exploring, cycling, swimming, fishing, visiting wineries/cheesemakers/nut farms/orchards/roadside fruit trees/etc etc buying (and scrumping=gathering!) yummy things to drink and eat, and lots of time creating feasts and sitting under trees for long breakfasts, lunches, afternoon teas and dinners late into the night, talking and laughing.

    When it is pouring with rain and miserably dark and I’m trudging home home through the city, I think of our recent holidays and a golden world of sun, sweet fruit, clear skies and free days seems possible! perfect! (there is a bit of fun #2 involved, but to be honest, I usually prefer manning the camera from the team support car).

  92. Nan says:

    Right now, it would be someplace cool, lush, green and beautiful. Alaska sounds good.

  93. kathryn says:

    Look at all the posts!!!!
    Hope you are having a fabulous time!
    Perfect vacation, huh? I have to say, the Maldives were absolutely stunning. But now that I have the tropical out of my blood, my next perfect vacation would be in a nice cabin somewhere snowy (colorado, perhaps?), good food, good wine, good friends. Big fire in the fireplace.
    Yes. That is what my next perfect vacation will be!
    I love the Dahlia pic!

  94. Sally says:

    I want to play too… :-)

    my ideal type of vacation would be me and hubby alone.

    because we met in Paris and I lived there (by myself and years later with my husband) for several years, I would have to choose it as the number 1 destination – it is a bit like going home, we go to the restaurants we used to enjoy, we walk past our apartment building, and of course… we go running under the Eiffel Tower “as in the good old days”

    if I may go on, the second ideal type would be the North Shore of Oahu – low key, in a cottage where we can cook ourselves and sit by the beach. Our favorite spot is near Waimea Beach – there is also a great running route just a couple of miles from the place we like to rent.

  95. Chez US says:

    WOW! I really depends on what we are looking for when we decide to hit the vacay! It does usually include only us though, a time to regroup.

    If we need some good food/wine & culture, we head to Paris. We both love it there. Always get a little apartment and live as if we live there, not as tourists. So romantic, relaxing and the perfect way to get back some of that J’taime time! We come home, with Paris on our minds and scour the CL adds looking for a dream apartment to live there! :)

    Our second choice, is just getting away – camping/climbing, maybe bike riding or what we have planned in a couple weeks – a sandy little quaint beach town in Mexico – not a lot of people, just good fresh seafood, lots of sandy between our toes and other parts ;) and lots of beers and margies; nothing planned except US! Much needed time.

  96. Amy says:

    I love to travel and truly experience a region “as a local” as best I can. I may lean towards this type of vacation given my exceedingly limited pile of moolah (oh the joys of being a student!). I’ve become a big fan of hitting up local festivals, quirky places, and the great outdoors. In fact, for my last vacation I bascially spent a few weeks running around the woods, fly fishing, and living in my camelbak. Glorious!

  97. Lorraine says:

    By the way I love your blog…

    My ideal vacation definitely involves looking at art, like paintings in museums, and wandering around little towns and sitting in outdoor cafes, and going to gardens. I guess it sounds like Europe. I like a balance between nature, art or culture, and relaxation!

  98. Collette says:

    I’m pretty sure that your ideal vacation and my ideal vacation are approximately 180 degrees apart! (175 maybe.) Cities, I love cities. (Okay, it’s true, not all of them but so as not to offend, I won’t list the ones I don’t like.) I like to explore, figuring out what makes up that particular city’s personality, who it’s people are, how they move, where they go, what they do. I could sit and watch people all day. I do love your nature shots though–I just don’t want to be the one to hike up and get them! ;-) Have a great vacation!

  99. Susan says:

    An ideal vacation with the family means having a house with a pool, versus hotel accommodations – maybe with grandparents and/or aunts & uncles for a few of those days as built-in babysitting. Just having days where time has stopped from our frantic reality, without rushing off anywhere and having countless hours of quality time together is an ideal vacation – – and everything is an indulgence. Sleeping in, having a leisurely breakfast, or breakfast out, dinner in with steaks and crablegs or a nice dinner out – life without stress temporarily. Hanging out in the pool or visiting some local sights or even shopping – is all a fun excursion. The destination could be Mexico or China or California – but having the pool, along with the laundry (a necessity with 3 between ages 2-6!), the option to cook and snacks on hand has become my ideal vacation.

    We LOVE your Aspen photos!
    Happy Trails :) !

  100. Isa says:

    My favorite vacation would be somewhere where the day is rainy and cold and wintery and the only thing you could do is to stay at home eating and cooking with the family, but then in the night there’re parties where you could dance all night long with your friends! Currently I haven’t had the luck to visit a place like that… the places I’ve gone are 1) OK with the day part but no parties at night or 2) OK with the night part but no time to relax and… cook. But, that’s why this are my IDEAL vacations…
    Love the picture of Kaweah and the prizes and the salad.

  101. Emily C. says:

    My ideal vacation involves sitting on a beach with an un-read Harry Potter book. Since that’s no longer possible (and pretty lame, I must admit!), I would more than happily “settle” for a pristine beach with family and close friends, wine, good food, and books. Just daydreaming about this is making me happy!

    I love reading others’ ideas of the perfect vacation – a great idea!

  102. Taryn says:

    I wasn’t going to comment, only because it would be the first (maybe second) time I’ve commented here and I’d hate that it’d look like all I want is a picture. However, your pictures are completely gorgeous and the headline of “did you enter?” pushed me over the edge.

    Ahem. Anyhow. My ideal vacation spot is the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I was born and raised there, and then moved to the “big city” (Grand Rapids, MI). When I go, I hike and swim and kayak and stargaze and do ANYTHING that I can’t do in the city. I like soaking it up, really feeling nature and …well, the lush green-ness of the U.P.! That being said, my ideal vacation is where I can throw myself into nature in the middle of nowhere. I’ve never been to the mountains, but I’m sure that’d fit in my “ideal” for sure.

    I love your photos, and visiting your blog in general. Thanks for maintaining it, it’s really great!

  103. Kate says:

    Sailing in the Caribbean when the Christmas trade winds arrive…heaven on earth. Sort of like where you live!

  104. Rachel says:

    With family and friends, in a sparsely populated location with a mild climate and clear, beautiful rivers/lakes/ocean, exploring nature and the local culture.

  105. Amy says:

    My ideal vacay would be somewhere relaxing by the water with the bf. :) And that salad is beautiful.

  106. Beatrice says:

    I love mountains. I also would like to increase the tiny portion of the world that I’ve seen. A few years I studied Spanish in a mountainous area in Central Mexico, which was wonderful. In the future, I’d like to take time to live and study Spanish in Chile, Peru and Ecuador.

    Although I’m not a water person, I’d also love to go back to the Maine coast (wild roses growing along the rocky shore, watching a red moon rise over the ocean at night..) and San Francisco.

  107. Dak says:

    Jen, your photos are amazing. How could I *not* try to win one?

    I’m really lucky because I’ve got to travel the globe and see and experience some amazing things. My perfect vacation is rather simple, though.

    My folks have a small cabin on the Washington coast. My perfect vacation is to spend time there. Get up early in the morning and take the boat out to fish (salmon, sturgeon, sea bass, whatever is in season). Then wander down to the bay side of the peninsula in the afternoon, with rake and rubber boots at the ready, to scrape up some steamer clams. If it’s razor clam season, then going after some of those is a must. Maybe one day trow out some crab pots. Get some fresh, briney Pacific oysters.

    And then? EAT.

    After all the gatering/eating of food, spend some time hiking through the dense coastal range, or wandering the beach with the husband and the dogs. Kicking my dad’s ass at cribbage (or maybe Norwegian whist, if luck is with me), teasing my mom, laughing until my sides ache with my siblings, chasing around all the neices and nephews, falling into bed at night with my husband to the sound of the crashing Pacific.

    Not a bad way to pass a week or two, no?

  108. Mollie says:

    I think mine would alternate between Fun #1 and Fun #2. A day of kayak, hike, swim, scuba or some such, alternated with a day of lay very still with a good book in a beautiful spot with lots of umbrella drinks.

  109. Kristin says:

    My favorite vacation is to a deep, clear, beautiful, calm, quiet mountain lake in the wilderness of Montana. No phone, no computer, no television. Just me and my husband, sitting on the dock, taking in the beauty of the lake and the surrounding mountains. The weather would be just hot enough to inspire us to jump into the lake several times a day. We’d have kayaks, a canoe, a deck of cards, bikes, books, hikes, and a guitar to entertain us. We’d have good wine, fresh dinners, a camp fire every night to wrap up the day.

  110. Manisha says:

    Our vacations are quite like yours: exertion and sweat and close to nature. We usually drive to the middle of nowhere, far away from people and wireless / Internet signal. We hike, eat and sleep. Unstructured is how we like it. I love to weave food into it but usually the places are remote and good food is hard to find. Despite all the crowds, Moab is our fave vacation place right now. We love Canyonlands which remains remote and is not quite most people’s cup of tea. In fact, I think Canyonlands is more spectacular than the Grand Canyon in many ways.

    Have a great vacation! I loved your latest post with pics of Diane and Todd!

  111. Jenn says:

    hmm… ideal vacation? That’s a tough one Jen, cause there’s so many places I would like to go and things I would like to do. My current vacations involve me staying home with my 3 yr old and doing mommy things, but if I could have any vacation I wanted, it would probably be a month in Europe seeing the sights (and eating the local cuisine of course).

  112. Annie says:

    My perfect vacation would be one with lots of quiet and laying in the sun. And eating!!! I love vacations where the destination is a foodie paradise! If I could have ANY vacation free of charge it would be a European vacation focusing on Italy, France and Spain.

  113. Hilda says:

    My perfect vacation is a place like New Zealand where I was able to visit interesting cities but also go out into complete isolation and beautiful landscapes to relax.

  114. julia says:

    my perfect solo vacation – a week drinking coffee and wandering around barcelona/prague/istanbul – someplace with a resonant history and also modern vibrancy.

    my perfect family vacation – cabin on a lake/river/ocean with some fishing equipment, lots of paperback books and boardgames, and nearby farmers’ markets.

  115. cindy says:

    Oh, the figs. The ones on our tree aren’t yet ripe, and the ones in the stores are still pretty pricey. This combination is one of my favorites.

    Don’t tell my family, but there is no such thing as a perfect vacation with them. Not that it’s not great to see them, but not on my perfect vacation. Which varies depending on time of year. Winter is a skiing vacation–hands down. We usually cram ourselves into a cabin, and I do most of the cooking, so the perfect vacation might involve a lodge where I roll from skiing into the shower (no line!), put on fuzzy fleece (nothing fancy), and roll on down to dinner (that I haven’t made!). Then maybe I would have a chance at reading in front of a fire without passing out with a book on my face.

    I’m with you on Fun #2. I’ll do Fun #1 when I’m too old for #2.

    I pretty much just took my perfect summer vacation. Standing in front of my camp stove flipping pancakes while gazing up at the Tetons–I could have stayed there all summer.

  116. diana banana says:

    one hundred and fourteen comments so far?!?!? jen, you’re famous!!!

    august 14 is my mother’s birthday as well :) the neighbors next to us growing up had a fig tree and my grandmother and i would go to the overspill growth over their fence and pick figs. i LOVE fresh black figs, the dried stuff and “fig-like treats” do absolutely no justice to the real thing.

    my best vacations are the ones where i get to interact with the locals on a more intimate level than usual, and it’s even better when we do not speak the same language. i was in a turkish bath in germany and ended up getting to know a 50 year old iraqi woman, how old her sons were, what she did, how long ago she had immigrated, etc. she learned that i studied architecture, my parents were from taiwan, i grew up in california and had been traveling around for 4 weeks. she spoke elementary german, but it didn’t matter because i knew 3 words. (hello, please and thank you…the minimum you must know before entering a foreign country!) i don’t speak arabic, she didn’t speak english, yet we managed to have a very engaging conversation, a privileged american student and an escapee from a war torn country, naked and sweating in a sauna in a very scary neighborhood in east berlin.

    for me, it’s not so much about the place and climate than it is about the interactions and experiences. i’m the type of person who could have a great time around a garbage can, depending on who’s with me.

  117. Nina says:

    My ideal vacation involves traveling in a city/country I’ve never been. I get so excited with new sights and sounds. The more exotic the better! I went to Morocco and I loved it because it was so different from anything I had ever seen. I would go again because it was beautiful. At the same time, with a limited amount of vacation, I want to discover other countries!

  118. Suzanne says:

    I too live in a vacation wonderland, which works out nicely because much of our vacation time is spent visiting friends and family in less adventurous places than our own backyard (the Cascades of Central Oregon). My perfect vacation involves meeting up with those scattered friends and family in sandy locales with reefs full of lovely sealife – most recently Akumal, Mexico!

  119. Andrea says:

    My ideal vacation would be adventure oriented. I’ve always wanted to go Machu Picchu in Peru and take a several day hike to the Incan ruins. I would go with my husband and we would also sample the local cuisine. I’ll get there someday!

  120. Psychgrad says:

    My ideal vacation….I would love to go somewhere will cool weather (say 60-70F) where I can rent a cottage/villa/house/etc. and explore nearby towns with small shops and markets. I’d like to rent a place in order to have access to my own kitchen because after 2-3 days of eating out, I really miss home-cooked meals. I like a mix of exertion and relaxation. Maybe one day of exertion for everything 2-3 days of relaxing.

  121. Amanda says:

    I’m with you! My favorite vacations by far are escaping into the backcountry of Colorado with my husband. I just love getting away from all the people and crowds and having the wilderness all to ourselves without watching some jackass trying to touch the wildlife or climb the waterfall. And, somehow the food always tastes amazing!!! Have fun on your vacation.

  122. Megan says:

    I like a vacation with a variety of options — I like to be able to go into and visit a big, new city (preferably a European or Australian one) for a few days, and then go somewhere more remote to visit a quaint little town with a fun downtown area, access to something naturally beautiful (ocean or lake is nice, mountains are a good second), and not too crowded. Somewhere I can rent a bike and go for a ride to explore. I like visiting places I haven’t been before, so my top-priority list of places to visit is always changing, as I check them off. Ideally, I also like to have enough time to make the vacation worthwhile — I don’t like whirlwind tours as much as having the time to explore everything, sleep in occasionally, and not feeling like I have to rush through things to be able to see everything. That said, spending 5 weeks in Australia last year was still not enough!

    I also enjoy going to places that somehow have a literary connection — an author’s hometown, or somewhere that they wrote about in one of my favorite books. Being able to see the area they were in when writing, or what they were actually writing about is spectacular. This made my summer spent in England absolutely wonderful, as most of my favorite authors are British. :)

  123. Melamalie says:

    My favourite vacay is a very vague idea in my mind. But it would have to involve family – my husband especially, but I also like to travel with my parents and siblings. It would involve the outdoors, for sure. My favourite place in the world is the Canadian Rockies, but I’ve visited so few places that I wouldn’t want to limit myself. It would probably involve some biking, hiking, and sailing. And cooking over a campfire. Lots of silence, relaxation, fresh air and good food.

    Darn… now I’m wishing I had more vacation hours saved up…

    Hope you have a great trip.

  124. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary says:

    The best vacations for me are the ones spent with my family. At log cabin in the woods of Vermont or New Hampshire, big BBQ’s, campfires, fireflies, marshmallows toasting, big cuddly beds to cozy up in at night. Peace & tranquility.

  125. Grace says:

    Your pictures are absolutely beautiful!

  126. Maja says:

    Hi, Jen!
    I love exploring big cities, the culture and history they have to offer. But i also love spending half a day in the water, so any beautiful place that can offer me that, wins. And i love biking, just came back from a two day biking trip. But no matter what i do or where i am, it always has to be topped with learning about the city or village i’m passing through. And good food. And good company. And some time to read. Enjoy your deserved vacation! :)
    lp, Maja

  127. D. Sarah H. says:

    Hi Jen! I stumbled across your blog about a year ago and I have loved following your adventures. I logged on today and noticed you passed through LA — where I currently live! :) I hope you had fun here. My ideal vacation is a trip to New Orleans, either for Mardi Gras or in April and October. It’s a city that will forever have my heart. New Orleans has it all – food, music, people, architecture, and history. If I could move back I would, but I’ll settle for quick visits until that’s possible again. Enjoy your vacation!

  128. Lisa says:

    My favorite vacation will, I’m quite certain cycle with the phases of my life. When I was younger (*ahem*irreverent teenager) I wanted nothing beyond lying by a pool. I wanted nothing to do with family. I wanted nothing to do with site-seeing whether I was in Hawaii or the South of France or Hong Kong. I wanted time in the sun and a book.

    As I get older (or as I like to call it – more mature) my taste in vacations has changed a lot. I suddenly want to see, feel, eat, hear and smell everything local; especially if I’m traveling to a very foreign destination (India was by far the most fascinating). I want to walk miles a day to see as many sites as I can. I want to squeeze something new and exciting into every moment of the day. I want to visit as many countries as a lifetime can take one to.

    Once I have kids – I can only imagine that my ideal vacation will tame a bit and I’ll want to go places that my children find magnificent and fascinating. It will be their excitement that will become mine.

  129. Amy says:

    Hmmm…I’m torn. I think in an ideal world, I’d want Vacation Part A and Part B. Part A would involve traveling to a new, beautiful place with lots of good food to eat, cultural things to see, things to learn, etc. Stimulating and enriching. But then Part B, which would be absolutely critical, would involve a quiet retreat to somewhere where I was surrounded by peaceful nature. Where I could just sit outside and hear nothing but the sounds of birds, the wind, breathe in clean, crisp air…where I could take long walks/hikes, reflect on things, and let my heart be filled to the brim with all the beauty around me.

    Actually, of those two, if I had to choose, Part B would definitely win. :)

  130. JMc says:

    Favorite vacay? For a few days, backpacking. For longer, anyplace new… country, state or city…exploring and traveling around. A close second is the stay and play vacation where we are one place for a week or more and travel out and explore from there…it can be both relaxing and adventerous.

  131. Grace says:

    My favourite vacation is in the late winter (February / March) when the weather is crappy here (southwestern BC, Canada) in some warm place that feeds me, gives me alcoholic drinks and entertains me, without me doing anything. The Dominican comes to mind! We have gone there for the last 5 years and we love it. However, we are thinking about going to SW India for next year. We’ve been to Thailand and Bali as well and they are fabulous and I’d go there again.

  132. Amy says:

    My perfect vacation happens about 4 days into any trip, when work finally starts to melt away and thoughts of all things left behind evaporate. To me, vacation is less about location or even company, but rather, is a state of mind, the place where spirituality re-enters your life in the forefront and the trivial noise from everyday life is properly decarded as debris. My best vacations have happened amidst the skyscrapers of big cities like New York, but has also happened in the depths of nature like Kauai’s lush greenery. It has happened over delicate 4-hour long meals and over simple bowls of steaming hot ramen; in the company of my most intimate friends and family, and in the unknowing kindness of strangers. In all cases, the term “vacation” was coined in my memory because peace made it so.

  133. Elis says:

    With any luck I’ll be taking my dream vacation next October for my first wedding anniversary. We want to go to Borneo before it gets too overrun with tourism, to explore the rich biodiversity of land and sea. That dream vacation will involve a whole lot of sweat and dirt (and hopefully some great critter spotting!) balanced with some time in the sparkling ocean and a few drinks on the beach/in town.

    Enjoy your time off!

  134. Bonnie says:

    My favorite vacation…..spending quality time with my Grandchildren. It would be a whole lot better though if I had some of your energy! Enjoy!

  135. Dragana says:

    My ideal vacation would include my entire family, including parents, my siblings and their famililes and a couple of close friends and their families. We would rent a large Villa in the Bra/Alba area in Piedmonte, northern Italy. It is cooler here during the summers and the villa would come with a talented local chef who would teach us the culinary specialties of the area. We would indulge in the local cheeses – Toma, Robiola and Castelmango, the local wines – Nebbiolo of the Langhe and Dolcetto, and fresh fruit and vegetables offered by the local markets. We will not forget the fine chocolate at Riccardi’s in Cherasco. As you can see, I would be in foodie heaven!
    Besides relaxing and enjoying the breathtaking panoramas, hiking and biking between towns would be part of the agenda.
    I am enjoying your amazing photographs and blog entries. All the best, Dragana.

  136. Jess says:

    I have two dream vacations, really.

    One would be to spend a week or two taking non-stop cooking classes with my fiance while hiding out in an apartment near the classroom with an awesome kitchen. Both of us are amateur chefs and really want to improve our skills. Ideally we’d be at one of the top schools and have enough free time in the evenings to check out the area. I’m thinking Tante Marie in San Francisco, if only because then I could do things like check out Chez Panisse and see relatives.

    The second? Yap. I’m a scuba diver that’s been land-bound due to hearing problems, and Yap is one of the biodiversity centers of the marine world. If I can dive again I’d go there in a heartbeat and spend my whole time in the water or checking out local markets.

  137. oncRN says:

    mine involves the sounds and smells of the ocean – tons of books – fresh seafood.
    i love your site – the food, the photos, the writing. i’m a fan.

  138. Alexander S says:

    Since Im a sucker for whisky, I would say my dream vaccation would go to Scotland, I’ll se myself driving an MG around the highlands with an beautiful bottle from the distillery Aberlour.
    Well maybe I would bring a beautiful woman too, but it’s not that important when you have an MG and expensive whisky in the trunk.

  139. BriAnna says:

    My ideal vacation is simple. Mountains, snow, a fire in the fire place, good food, and my love. with the days spnt skiing and throwing snowballs, and the nights spent snuggling. Pure bliss.

  140. Liz says:

    OK, so I’m a bit late at posting, and no need to enter me in the drawing, but I wanted to post my idea of an ideal vacation. We’ve had several – traipsing around the SW US – rock climbing, biking, camping, canyoneering; ski vacations with friends exploring new areas (we’re thinking maybe Utah this winter); our mnt biking trip to Whistler rocked this summer. I love just sitting and doing nothing, but I love being active, too (and since JD doesn’t like sitting and doing nothing, most of our vacations are pretty active!)

  141. Kelly says:

    My ideal vacation would be Italy, in the summer…that’s what it would be! Have fun on yours!

  142. bookaholic_au says:

    Yum. For me: Beach, heat, ozone layer and/or melanin. Not gonna happen. Ohh and a boat. With sails.

    As a child, we lived next to a wonderful Italian couple. They had 3 large fig trees on their small block of land, but they must have come with the house, as, alone of all their wonderful produce (giant organic tomatoes and all kinds of beans and herbs, similarly sized) they didn’t eat them. Lucky us.

  143. masai mara safari kenya says:

    my idea of a vacation would be in Tanzania’s serengeti national park on safari.

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